G. Frank Lydston on Lethal Chambers
Some eugenic proponents, such as Lewellys F. Barker and G. Frank Lydston, were not just directors of institutions but major names in the field of medicine. Barker was the physician-in-chief at John Hopkins Hospital; Lydston, a professor of genitourianary surgery at the University of Illinois, had some extreme views on the role of medicine in combating America’s dysgenic hordes–Southern European immigrants–and was not bashful about sharing them. Along with advocating castration of rapists and sterilization of the unfit (epileptics, inebriates, consumptives, etc.), he also proposed the use of toxic gas in sealed compartments “to kill convicted murderers and driveling imbeciles.” Barker’s and Lydston’s papers, especially those published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New York Medical Journal, signified for many Americans that eugenical surgery had been accorded a seal of approval by the profession’s elite.